Monthly Archives: April 2011

A User Love Story: Traveler, Androids, UX Designers & Food

What happens when you put 19 users in a room with their Android devices, Lotus Notes Traveler, a webcast, a few UX designers on the phone and some snacks? Well, it turns out it results in an hour of great feedback, interesting discussion, and fun!

We had a unique opportunity to participate in a Traveler UX discussion with Michelle Cooper and Jessica Peter of the Mobile User Experience team, along with Chris Reckling who manages the mobile UX team across the Lotus products.  Jessica is the lead designer for Traveler and Michelle does user research for mobile.

VCU & Traveler went to the Final FourA little background – VCU has been an Android Traveler Beta program participant. As I’ve posted before – our users LOVE Traveler. We continue to see steady growth in Traveler usage since implementing both for the Apple iOS and Android-based devices.

So when asked if we could pull together a group of users to participate in a usability webcast, we jumped at the opportunity. We sent out an email to all our Android users. And we had 24 users RSVP for the event, with a number responding saying that they wished they could attend. Of course we did entice them with a mention of refreshments being provided!

So the day of the webcast, the users arrived with their Androids in tow. We started the webcast with a brief info and also headed off a few comments about a server related issue. As we explained the UX team deals with the end user experience. Our entire room was on open mike, so Michelle, Jessica and Chris could hear the users’ comments. Michelle and Jessica then began to go through slides and ask the users questions about different design elements or features. Were these items something they would use or should they be configured differently? They also asked about favorite Android apps. Of course Angry Birds was mentioned! And one user said that he disliked his Android device until he installed Traveler. “I love it now – because of Traveler!”

As I sat back and watched the attendees, I was pleased to see they were all engaged. They were watching the slides and had their devices out, comparing their own user experience with what was being displayed. Then actively commenting or nodding or shaking their heads. They were participating in a very positive manner! It was not a “let’s bash the email system session.” It was “let’s share what we like or dislike in a constructive manner session.” It was interesting for me to hear how they were using Traveler as well. “I only use the calendar” or “I only use it for email.”

The user group included faculty, directors, administrators, staff, and a few techies as well. No one admitted to owning an Android tablet, but we did see a representation of the most popular Android devices on the market.

All and all it was the most positive end-user feedback session I’d had as a Notes/Domino administrator in a long time. And according to Michelle/Jessica/Chris they obtained valuable and useful feedback as well.

So the moral of the story is if you have an opportunity to work with the IBM UX team – do so! Remember that user feedback (while sometimes annoying to system administrators) is very constructive and important for the overall usability of a software product. And that it is good to gather your users together (with food of course) and allow them to share their experiences with you and each other!

Psst IBM…Over here…a few words about marketing LotusLive!

I’ve been hearing a lot about other cloud collaboration solutions lately.  But not about LotusLive Notes or iNotes.  So here are a few hints:

  • Mention the fact that LL works with the Domino Directory, LDAP or Active Directory (but doesn’t require Active Directory).
  • In big bold letters make sure potential customers realize that LL doesn’t have attachment size limits.
  • Mention that LL has a calendar solution that integrates with instant messaging, online meetings and unified communications.
  • That LL supports not one but two web clients (LotusLive Notes and LotusLive iNotes).
  • That LotusLive is accessible and available in multiple lanugages.
  • That LotusLive is available as an on-premises and cloud solution (a.k.a. hybrid cloud).
  • That if you’re moving from Lotus Notes to LotusLive, you’re not going to have the same data fidelity issues you would if you’re migrating to a different cloud email solution.
  • Emphasize the success of the spam/antivirus solution!
  • Talk about how easy it is to do e-discovery with Domino databases.
  • Mention search capabilities for LotusLive cloud-based email.
  • Spend lots of time talking about mobile access – Traveler, Traveler, Traveler!
  • And IMAP – be sure to mention the availability of IMAP support.
  • Finally – multiple browser support – step up to provide support for Google Chrome once and for all!

Spin those features that make LotusLive a product to consider!

What do Eagles and Domino Administrators have in common?

I’m not sure.  The desire to build a huge nest that weighs almost 2 tons?  The need to eat raw fish (sushi)?  In any case this Domino Administrator has a degree in biology and has become completely mesmerized by the Decorah Eagle live camera that has been set up by the Raptor Resource Project.  The site has had 31,654,709 views since it started.  The camera is located high (emphasis on high) in a tree where an eagle pair has built an enormous nest and is currently raising three eaglets. 

Why do we know so much about this particular pair?  They were made somewhat famous by a PBS Nature feature.  They have been together since 2007.  And have successfully fledged eight eaglets since then. 

After hearing about this web cam on National Public Radio, I decided to visit the site, and was immediately hooked.  At that point only two of the eaglets had hatched and the third was due any day.  It is amazing to see the tenderness and patience with which the eagles feed their young.  Tearing off tiny bits of raw fish or squirrel or whatever is the dead critter du jour and feeding each eaglet until they can no longer take another mouthful.  So far I’ve seen muskrat, squirrels, crows, rabbit, and various fish in the nest.  Fish is the eagle’s favorite food.  And it so happens that the nest is located near a very large stream. 

From a technology point of the view, the camera runs 24×7 and switches to infrared at night.  They’ve also set up speakers so you can hear what’s going on in the nest as well as on the farm below the nest.   To get a perspective of what the team went through to set up the camera, check out their slide show.

So if you need a five minute break from the complicated world, switch to the eagle’s nest for a bird’s eye view!